Constraints and perceptions of natural products trade in Rwanda: A study of Rwandan wholesalers and retailers

R. Govindasamy, Venkata S. Puduri, Nicholas Hitimana, H. R. Juliani, J. E. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The natural products industry in Rwanda is mostly operated by small-scale farmers with low levels of formal education and knowledge of agricultural production. Organizationally, the scale of natural products operation may also be a bottleneck. The supply chain obstacles are lack of information, capital, product quality and assurance mechanisms, access to financial credit and loan availability at reasonable rates, facilities and processing equipment, and more, each hindering the successful commercialization. A sample of 50 traders was randomly selected from Kigali and trained personnel personally administered the interviews in person. The surveys were conducted during 2005. According to the survey results, 84% of the business respondents were considered as retailers, 16% were categorized to be both retailers and wholesalers. None of the traders were exclusively in the category of wholesalers. About 94% of the traders businesses were situated in urban areas while the remaining 6% existed in suburban regions. Males were the dominant business operators in the natural products area. Only 2% of the traders produced natural products at their own farm or facilities of an average size of 1.5 hectares. All the business operators (100%) purchased natural products from agents, 10% of the respondents received products directly from growers/collectors. According to the survey results, only 2% of the respondents exported natural products into the international market. The majority of the natural products businesses were operated by a family member. The obstacles to growth and expansion included access to finance and markets, and lack of herbal market information especially relating to external markets. There is also a lack of processing capacity and above all, the operator's lack of technical training relating to herbal products handling. A majority of the traders also felt that taxes were excessive and were considered as one of the most serious constraints to their business. This report gathered important information pertaining to the natural products traders of Rwanda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-423
Number of pages11
JournalActa Horticulturae
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture


  • Herbal medicines
  • Herbal products
  • Retailer
  • Small-scale farmers
  • Wholesaler


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